Mennonite World Conference (MWC) and Mennonite organizations collaborated to live out faith with unified action in response to disasters that struck members of the global Anabaptist family this year.
Flooding in Peru
“Our hearts were left totally destroyed…but thanks to MWC, who have come to visit us and have given us this uplifting and encouraging word, a word of hope and love,” says Antonio García Dominguez, leader of Conferencia Peruana Hermanos Menonitas.
Torrential flooding caused by El Niño in Peru devastated homes and livelihoods of more than a million Peruvians. Together, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), ICOMB (International Community of Mennonite Brethren), MB Mission and MWC facilitated the six-month appointment of Antony Sanchez to assess needs, coordinate response and training and equip the local churches to serve their communities.
“The brothers and sisters from Peru were very welcoming, open, and eager to learn and to help,” Sanchez says. “I have been able to affirm their dreams and, together with these organizations, respond to their needs, highlighting their capacities and skills, always remembering that we are members of a global family. We are in the hands of God as well as being God’s hands to bring his presence and blessings to others.”
MWC regional representative and trauma specialist Pablo Stucky visited in April and again with a Deacons Commission delegation with Deacons Commission secretary Henk Stenvers and Elisabeth Kunjam in October.
Violence displaces people in DR Congo
In DR Congo, a conflict brewing between tribal and political factions broke out into widespread violence in the past year, compelling more than a million people to flee their homes, sometimes after family or neighbors were killed in front of them. Thousands of members of Communauté Mennonite au Congo—one of three Mennonite national churches—are living in the forest or have fled to other parts of the country and across the border to Angola, to refugee camps or the hospitality of local Mennonites.
MWC is cooperating with MCC; Mennonite Mission Network; MB Mission; Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission; Caisse de Secours; Mennonite Church Canada Witness; Konferenz der Mennoniten der Schweiz (Alttäufer), Conférence mennonite suisse (Anabaptiste); and ICOMB on the delivery of strategic, locally sourced humanitarian assistance through churches and partners in DR Congo to some 200 families. To read more about the conflict, visit: https://mcc.org/stories/mennonites-join-provide-food-shelter-dr-congo.
A Deacons Commission delegation is intended to visit Mennonite churches in DRC in December.
“The Deacons walk with the churches, listening to their stories, praying and showing that the global church is in solidarity with them,” Stenvers says.
Monsoon floods in Nepal, India and Bangladesh
In August 2017, monsoon floods washed through Nepal and parts of India and Bangladesh, affecting millions and killing hundreds.
Anabaptist partners MCC and Brethren in Community Welfare Society are helping 323 families recover their livelihoods, including fisheries, vegetable farms and kitchen gardens, and providing shelter materials and mosquito nets. In addition, the project will construct 15 boreholes and provide support to repairs to homes of seven local Brethren In Christ staff.
“These Mennonite organizations working together, unified in response, were a testimony of unity,” Sanchez says. Practically and spiritually, they release “a synergetic power. The Spirit working amid us creates more unity and increases faith and confidence that God is our provider who takes care of us.”
Mennonite World Conference is a communion of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service, and witness. USMB is a member conference of this global ministry.